Noun-Verb. Or is it Verb-Noun?

January 11, 2012


In an attempt to become an honest-to-God writer, I look online for a primer and find Writing Tools, which I chase down in the library.   I dig in.  Roy Peters Clark (in Chapter One) tells me that an active voice entails beginning sentences with a noun and a verb and is the most effective way to grab and hold the reader’s attention.  I rewrite a recent blog entry so that nearly all the sentences start with a noun followed by a verb.   A wave of satisfaction takes hold as I note the improvement in my writing.

Then (for some unknown reason) hopelessness edges out the satisfaction.  Cursing this new feeling, I try to rekindle the old “expert within” momentum.  I Google two writer friends to find inspiration in their blogs.

I find a partial blog on http://www.huffingtonpost.com by a NY friend, Jean Reilly.  She seems to espouse the noun-verb format, too!  The expert in her is thriving, I notice. She writes, she interviews famous wine makers, she skydives, and she will soon assume the “role as principle on-camera wine specialist and commentator for ‘Jet Set Chefs’, a culinary adventure travel series scheduled to air next year”.  A year ago, she “became this country’s 26th Master of Wine, only the sixth American woman to hold this prestigious title”.  I remember that at one time, she did solitary taste tests in her home, sipping wine from identical glasses while blindfolded.

I think about my life.  She is famous and I am teaching myself to write in a blog which has only two followers, my boyfriend and my therapist.  The blindfolded taste test part of Jean’s story fades to the recesses of my consciousness.

My mind wanders to a children’s book called Sheep Out to Eat I purchased for my now 30-something nephew long ago.  I loved that book!  I loved it for the same active sentence construction espoused by Roy Peters Clark in Chapter I.  I download it to Kindle.  It starts, “Five sheep stop at a small tea shop.  They ask for a seat and a bite to eat.”  Then it foreshadows an imminent cultural collision with the following words, “Sheep get menus, sheep want feed.  They point to words that they can’t read.”

I see in those words the cultural mismatch I feel with the world.  I search for meaning in my life. When I can’t find it, I start with the simple noun and verb structure: I drink tea. I write the beginning of a blog entry. I get ready to clean the mobile home.

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